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HS Fin de Siècle : Course Description

Course Description ^top


subject area: literature and cultural studies
language: English
reading: H. James, The Turn of the Screw (1898), H. Rider Haggard, She (1886-87), H.G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), O. Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), Salomé (1893/94)... and selected poems, essays and source material
recommended literature: Roger Luckhurst and Sally Ledger, eds. The Fin de Siècle: A Reader in Cultural History c. 1880-1900. Oxford, et al.: Oxford UP, 2000; Gail Marshall, ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Fin de Siècle. Cambridge, et al.: Cambridge UP, 2007.

Beardsley: Stomach Dance

Radicalism and anarchism, Empire and colonial anxiety, the return of the Gothic (and the repressed…), degeneration, decadence, the new Woman, the feminine dandy, and gender anxiety - the keywords generally associated with the literary and cultural fin de siècle (c. 1880-1900) already betray late Victorianism's morbid fascination with transgression and decline. In this course, we will work out a detailed overview of the fin de siècle's cultural and literary politics, ranging from the literary genres to the discourses of Empire, sexuality and science that shape the time. We will discuss a variety of literary texts (James's The Turn of the Screw, Rider Haggard's She, Wells's The Island of Doctor Moreau, Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and Salomé) and try to work out how these texts are shaped by the discourses of the fin de siècle.

All course members are expected to join an expert group that is responsible for the structure of one session.

Beardsley: Enter Herodias

Reading List ^top


source material, poetry, essays (see seminar reader)
(01) Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (Norton Critical Edition, € 13,99)
(02) Henry James, The Turn of the Screw (Norton Critical Edition, € 13,99)
(03) H.G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau (Penguin, € 7,99)
(04) Oscar Wilde, Salomé (Branden, € 4,95)
(05) H. Rider Haggard, She (Penguin Classics, € 6,45)

Please note that attending this course entails a relatively heavy reading load as we will read source material, essays and poetry in addition to the longer primary texts. You should therefore have read at least The Picture of Dorian Gray, preferrably also The Turn of the Screw and The Island of Doctor Moreau by the beginning of the term.